Cook Wealth Management Group

Winter Energy Bills – Cut Costs Now and Later

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Energy bills can be quite costly in the winter months. Here are a few ways to keep your home’s temperature up and your monthly costs down.

$ Free

  • How long have you had your heating system? You may be entitled to a free inspection. Find out if your system is working overtime (and you’re paying more than you should) to heat your home. Contact your system’s manufacturer to see what they offer, or ask a local fuel or electric company if they do complimentary inspections.
  • Clean your furnace/air filters every two months and increase efficiency by up to 50%.
  • Open curtains during the warmest hours of the day to let the sun heat your home, and switch the ceiling fan to the reverse setting to push warm air back down.
  • Wear a sweater and save. According to GreenLivingOnline, lowering your thermostat temperature by two degrees could cut $180 from your bills this winter.
  • Also consider lowering your water tank thermostat two degrees. The recommended energy-efficient range is 60 – 65 degrees Celsius – which is quite warm. (If your water tank thermostat doesn’t have numbers, this range is typically equivalent to the middle setting of “warm normal.”)
  • A dishwasher uses less water – and thus less water heating – than hand washing. Make sure you fill it; a dishwasher is made to perform best and most energy-efficiently when filled to capacity.

$$ Moderate Expense

  • Ever considered replacing your showerhead? Newer models use less water and thus, need less heat to warm the water.
  • A high electric or gas bill is usually an indication that heat is escaping. To prevent escape, caulk cracks, buy materials from a home improvement store to seal off doorways, and install new attic insulation (the latest innovative insulation is made of recycled materials and is not harmful to your lungs like the old, pink kind.)
  • If you still think your heating bill is too high, buy a thermal leak detector for around $50 and find the areas in the house where heat is escaping. Then caulk or insulate the trouble spots.
  • Do you need a new thermostat? The latest thermostats range from $200 – $300 and allow you to not only schedule the temperature on a weekly basis, but also adjust the temperature remotely if plans change. If you’re working late, you can lower your thermostat from your office computer or smartphone. This purchase will likely pay for itself within two years, since anytime your heater is not running, you’re saving.

$$$ Long Term Investment

  • If you’re not planning to move soon, replace your old windows. Energy-efficient, double-paned windows will keep more of your heated air indoors. If double panes are out of your price range, interior storm windows may work better for you – they reportedly reduce heat loss by 25-50% and are available for as little as $75 each. Some models spring-load to fit into your window, making installation a cinch.

It’s wise to determine your home’s heating efficiency – so you can determine your spending efficiency. In most cases, you’ll need to pay upfront to save on energy costs later. In the meantime, practice money-saving strategies to keep your heated air indoors.

Stay warm!

Content derived from: “New Ways to Cut Winter Energy Bills.” Kate Ashford. MONY. Oct. 2010.
“10 Easy Ways to Cut Your Energy Bill This Winter.” Lee Schnaiberg. GreenLivingOnline.
“How to Cut Your Winter Energy Bills.” Kelli Grant. SmartMoney. Oct. 15, 2007.